- Cyber security
That stolen payment cards data of Pakistani banking clients is repeatedly being found on sale at underground card shops ought to seriously rattle some nerves in government as well as the banking industry. So far, both have typically denied the ‘widespread’ nature, apparently, of this problem, preferring to brush the matter under the carpet till they get a handle on it. Their approach, thought the wrong one, is understandable to an extent. Pakistani depositors are not too familiar with bank runs but financial institutions that require the trust of clients to survive and thrive are all too aware of the results of a vote of public no confidence.
It’s not just the integrity of client money that is at stake. There are many more dimensions to this picture. It turns out that much of the cyber security setup used by the local finance industry is a good 20 years past its sell by date. Hopefully the same is not true for the more sensitive arms of the state. Considering our long list of enemies, not to mention how some states usually do business, our security apparatus is bound to come under cyber-attacks, which is an essential component of modern warfare. If the official side is just as competent, or not, as the banking industry, there could be very serious consequences.
Then there’s foreign investment. There’s no non-market kiss of death to foreign investors quite like cyber insecurity. The prospect that a bunch of unchecked hackers could simply waltz into the electronic capital market and make off with their investment deters government and non-government investors about as much as bombs and beheadings. The government must take urgent notice of this phenomenon and, instead of letting banks treat is like a non-issue, initiate a through inquire as well as public awareness program. Falling short now could invite serious regrets later.